When I got this lens, I thought it would become my most used and loved lens in my bag. I believed I would use it more than I even used the Sigma 18-35mm that I just love. I did not. It mainly sit in my bag for those “special shots.” Well, that has changed lately and I have learned to love the wideness of this lens.
Let me say out of the gate that using the 18-35mm is still going to give you better images if you are using the long end of this lens. Shooting 20mm at F/4 using the Sigma 18-35mm will be better than F/4 at 20mm using this lens. However, using the wider lengths, this lens does what other can not. You can’t make an 18mm shoot 10mm.
As far as the lens itself, it is plastic and feels like it was cheaply made. It is not American or Japanese made. Some of them are made in China and some of them in Thailand. It is not the same quality as the Art lens I have. It is also not the price of them either. I paid half of the price for it as I did the Sigma 18-35mm. You do get what you pay for.
The lens thread is 82mm. This is a small issue because getting filters for it is pricy. 10 Stop filters from Hoya and other companies can get up in the $200 range. This is almost as much as the lens itself. However, using filters to stop down a super wide lens like this is awesome.
How does it handle different types of photography though? That is matters, right?
HDR Photography works well!
As you can imagine, I do alot of HDR Photography. I went out without a tripod using the Nikon D7200 one day in downtown Kansas City. This image was shot with one stop both directions. It handled the images pretty well. You can tell when the merger happened that the lens is not more high quality.
Shooting HDR Photography would be better on a full frame using the Nikon 16-35mm which is basically the 10.5-23.3mm on a APSC camera. The better full frame lens is the same length as this Sigma 10-20mm lens is. There is no way I can not suggest going full frame with the Nikon lens to be honest.
Using the Nikon D7200 with it did gives me some very wide shots. It is a much cheaper option and should be in your bag if you are using APSC camera.
Street Photography with the Sigma 10-20mm
What about Street Photography? I have not shot much of it lately but I do use this lens for vlogging. It is a great lens for that. The challenge I see is just how wide the lens is. It means you would have to be very close to your subject which can be hard to pull off on the streets. The ideal street photography lens, in my opinion, is the Nikon 18-200mm. Not the best optics but the range is amazing.
However, if you want pictures of things that are not moving, this lens does something that others will not do. The above images of the signat the Westin is an example. I was able to get a close shot of it but also include the trees and all the buildings (and The Link) in the background as well. It tells the story being at the Crown Center.
As I said, this is my normal lens for shooting street photography. I would probably use the Rokinon 12mm (F/2) and the Sony A5100.
Real Estate Photography
Probably outside of landscapes, the most used application for the Sigma 10-20mm (F/3.5) is probably real estate photography. When doing that, you need a very wide lens. Shooting at 10mm is perfect. You can put it on a tripod and get that shot you need.
While not a real shoot at a house, the above image is shot at a restaurant and is hand held. I just did it on the fly. In fact, I am planning to try and do a whole commercial real estate shoot with this lens. I think it would look perfectly using the right light. I would think shooting at around F/7.1 would be a sweet spot.
Normally, you would need to shoot about -3 and +3 on exposure compensation. Make sure to use a tripod in a real setting. Even the cheaper one from Neweer would good as well.
Again, this is for wide shots. If you are looking for the food shots that you normally see. Use a Nikon 24-70mm (F.2/8) and not the Sigma 10-20mm. However, you can use it for wider shots that tell the story of what is happening around you. Having this lens could be very effective for food photography for this reason.
The above image is just a picture of my fries that I got at Unforked at the Crown Center. It tells the story of editing. I have my laptop out and my phone. I had a little office space going on there. The story is told by this extra wide shot.